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Monday, February 27, 2017

A purpose for living?


In my last blog, I revealed an intimate picture of a God who isn’t distant and uncaring, but whose heart beats for you. 

This same God desires to give you a purpose for living. He not only wants you to thrive here in the land of the living, but more wonderfully, even beyond death.

That’s hard to picture sometimes in the here and now. I’ve had a painful past and have the scars to prove it. I experience pain and sorrow now. Just because I am a Believer doesn’t mean I’m exempt from that. 

You may come up and ask, “How are you Deb?”. I honestly can’t say, “Completely satisfied and overflowing with joy!”  

To be clear, I have a “joy unspeakable” deep within that cannot be shaken. I have peace with God, through Jesus’ work on the cross. God’s spirit dwells within me. He has lavished His grace on me and I am a very blessed woman.

Yet I live in a broken world. Life can be difficult and messy. It can be downright painful at times. But there is an awesome, powerful truth in all this and I want to share it with you:

 And face it—if there’s no resurrection for Christ, everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you’ve staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ—sheer fabrications, if there’s no resurrection.

If corpses can’t be raised, then Christ wasn’t, because he was indeed dead. And if Christ weren’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they’re already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.
1 Corinthians 15;13-20 The Message Bible

Do you see the passage I marked bold? “If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot.”

Is this all there is to life? To live approximately 80 years and poof, die. The end? 

As a believer, is it all about stamping my ticket to heaven? I’m on my way there and that’s all that matters? Just passing time until I die? 

No, a thousand times no! Look at what Jesus said to His disciples when in a gush of faith they said, “We believe that You came from God.” 

Jesus answered them, “Do you finally believe? In fact, you’re about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I’m not abandoned. The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16:32-33 The Message Bible

In a few short hours, Jesus would experience the cross. But the cross was not the end. He did overcome, not just for Himself, but for us. If there was not a resurrection, we would be a most miserable people and life would be meaningless. 

But thank God, He did rise victorious! And this has powerful ramifications for us if we would believe. It means that we don’t have to live in despair. Even through the difficulties, we will be unshakable, assured and at peace just like Jesus promised. It means that His presence and power will be at work in and through us, even in pain and suffering. In this broken and messed up world we have an abiding, unwavering hope. In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37

I think 2 Corinthians 4 says it so well: 

You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.....So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. 
The Message Bible

There's so much more to life than you know. Without Jesus, you are missing out on Real Life. Because He is Life Everlasting. Life in the here and now, and beyond the grave.